Virginia, China bring home (and send out) the bacon

Capital Land,David Sherfinski

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said he expected his recent overseas sojourn to Japan, China, and Korea – which included the opening of a Virginia trade office in Shanghai – would bear fruit in the way of economic announcements for the state.

Turns out he was right.

McDonnell announced on Wednesday that Virginia-based Smithfield Foods, Inc. and China’s Dandong Port Group have reached an agreement to explore business opportunities in Northern China.

On its face, it seems like a match made in Hog Heaven: China is the world’s largest consumer of pork, and Smithfield is the world’s largest pork processor and producer.

“This strategic partnership will serve both companies in the future:  Smithfield gains an important strategic ally in a rapidly developing region of China, and Dandong will serve as the regional hub for supplying the needs of this region as well as other countries in northeast Asia,” said McDonnell.

In 2010, overall agricultural exports from Virginia reached $2.24 billion – the second-highest total ever – and China was the second largest export market for Virgina’s agricultural products.

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